Friday, March 17, 2017

2nd Boer War - Start of new project

For a couple of years now I have been thinking about wargaming the 2nd Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. I had wanted to get into colonial wargaming for some time, but also wanted more equal forces than you normally get in colonial wargaming. My friend Frank and I dabbled a bit with a Pathan Revolt 1897 game, where I had adapted the Lion Rampant rules, but it somehow did not grab us.

Without a doubt this is one of the most overlooked conflicts, which I think is because gamers are unsure about whether it is a colonial game or like WW1. The answer, at least if you want to play the first phase of the war - the conventional war, that it is very much it's own thing. The second phase of the war  - the guerilla war, is no different than other guerilla wars. So the first thing I needed to find out was which type of game I wanted. This would also have an impact on the miniatures size.

Now I have never painted anything other than 28mm, so I was vary about smaller size being able to show the character or whether it would just look like small lumps of metal with paint on them.

I decided that the guerilla war phase was what I wanted so what rules to use?

Now I have gone back and forth about which rules and minis to use, so this is only a brief intro into some of the "dilemmas" I discussed with my friend Eric, my girlfriend Julie and of course myself.

Rules

TooFatLardies also had some playtesting of their now released 2nd Boer War rules, which further peaked my interest. At the time the rules had not be released, but it was clear that they very not intended for large skirmishes, but rather bigger forces using 6mm figures.

When the rules were released with Christmas Special 2016 publication, I eagerly read through them hoping that they might be usable for the guerilla war phase afterall. They did not. Now my knowledge of the 2nd Boer War is by no means large, but this is by far the best and most historically correct rule set for the conflict I have come across. I might try them out later.

Minis

At the same time I was looking at rules I looked at minis, more specifically miniature sizes. I read good things about the large range of 10mm Pendraken Boer War miniatures. I enquired about some photos on their forum as none were available on their website, and ended up getting a free sample of 9 foot and 2 cavalry models - this is customer service at it's best.

I was still looking at 28mm as this was what I had always painted, and while there are some ranges out there, there were still some things that I was vary about. Old Glory's range is good, but I read that their figures have weird poses and the sculpts are not that good. Foundry's quality is good, but the range is not that big and I was unsure whether they would mix well with other minis.

My sample arrived and after some research about how to paint 10mm I got to it. Once the minis were primed and given a wash the details stood out, and I was pleasantly surprised, I could still make out the different features of each mini. I got painting and within two hours I had painted all 9 foot and was quite please with the result. The task was not as daunting as I thought.

 British samples

 Next to a 28mm figure for comparison

 Primed Boers

 Primed British with a wash

 British all painted up

Boers all painted up


So what did I end up with?

I wanted a rule set that was generic enough so that I could tailor it to the 2nd Boer War, and without a million minis on the table - I was looking for something similar in size to Sharp Practice 2 and Chain of Command. Having purchased The Men Who Would Be Kings when it was released I sat down to reread it and came to the conclusion that this would be perfect. So working on the force list for the 1st Boer War as a base and some wonderful discussions on The Men Who Would Be Kings fan FB group, I have come up with troop types that I think will work - a future post will detail this.

Miniture wise I had decided that 28mm would be the way to go despite my positive experience on painting 10mm. I soon came back to the same problem of which company's minis I should get. Again both the The Men Who Would Be Kings and lead-adventure.de were extremely helpful in providing pictures and comments, but I was still unsure. Going for 28mm would also mean that I would only be working with half sized units (termed Skirmish Kings) in the rules, as my budget for this is not huge.

So after some careful consideration I decided that I could get all that I needed to play 10mm full sized units for a third of the money to play with 28mm half sized units. That made it an easy decision in the end and I placed an order with Pendraken, which in the end also included a few farms and a block house.

My painting table so be free (some WW2 Russians for Chain of Command is currently occupying it) by the time the order arrives and I am really looking forward to getting to work on them and of course some suitable terrain as well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Peninsular War - French Light Column

Back in January my friend Erik and I decided to embark on a Sharp Practice Peninsular War project, he would get and paint a British force, while I took on the French. Since I knew Erik would be fielding a lot of Rifles in his force I wanted to create a French force suitable as an opponent. So the basis for this was the French Light Column in the Sharp Practice book.

After some research about which minis to get, I chose two Perry plastic sets and a couple of metal packs. After getting them and putting them together I realised that I was a couple of minis short, so I got what I needed from Front Rank, and while on their website I got 6 Vistula Legion Voltigeurs as well. Uniform wise they might not be 100% accurate, but they will look the part and unless my opponent suddenly becomes an expert on Napoleonic uniforms he will not notice either.

I decided to paint the miniatures as a Light Column, which is one of the options shown on the Perry website. The dismounted Dragoons (my favourites of the lot) will be used as a skirmish troop. I still have figures to make a Carabiners(Grenadiers) unit, but I don't think it will be needed.

Here is the Light Column force that I will be able to put on the table (number of minis in the brackets):

3 x Chasseur units (24)
2 x Voltigeur Skirmisher units (12)
1 x Dragoons, dismounted skirmishers unit (6)
1 x Vistula Legion Voltigeur Skirmishers unit (6)
1 x Dragoons, mounted unit (8)

5 Leaders and one Bugler.

Having set up all my terrain and taken pictures of them, I put the minis on the board and took some more pictures, so here you go.























Monday, March 13, 2017

The Peninsular War - Finished terrain

It's been over a month since my last post, as I have been busy working on my Peninsular War project. So both miniatures and terrain have been on the agenda and now I am finally all done.

When I am near the conclusion of building terrain I always set up a board to see how everything works and whether everything look like it should be on the board. I had made some small forested areas, but when they were placed on the board they did not look like they belonged on the board, so I removed them.

There is enough terrain to ensure that for each game it is not just the same pieces that have been shuffled around. So I am very pleased with the results

So this is what I came up with.

















Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Peninsular War - Buildings

Ever since I sold off my Indian Mutiny collection I have been looking for another setting for Sharp Practice and a new project. Initially I was looking into the French-Indian War with it's small skirmish groups and distinctive terrain. In the Autumn of 2016 I met another wargamer Erik, and we got talking about different projects. Unlike my friends Erik likes unit based games and is very eager to play Sharp Practice. With the Dawns and Departures campaign setting PDF released I got thinking about trying out Napoleonics again in The Peninsular War. Erik was also keen and we started to look at minis and I looked into what terrain could be obtained without breaking the bank.

So with miniatures ordered - I will be playing the French, while Erik will be putting some Rifles on the table - I settled on the War Bases modular buildings and some extra bits. These are very cheap and will form a good base for a larger buildings.

Researching what other wargamers had done with the buildings I found that for a small price I could get plain tiles sheets for all the buildings from Wills - so an order was placed with Model Railways Direct.

Both orders arrived within a week of ordering. Assembly of the modular buildings was very easy and only took about two hours in total.


Looking at the buildings I realised that I would need to put them together with other types of buildings in order to make them more usable. Luckily for me Rich Clarke from Too Fat Lardies is also doing Peninsular buildings so his blog entries has provided excellent inspiration.

I began to put some small walls, extra buildings etc. next to the War Bases models so that I could get an idea of the buildings I wanted. I ended up with four buildings.





Next up was gluing everything in place on 3mm MDF.




The most lengthy task was up next - plastering all the buildings and walls with filler. This took more hours that I care to remember, but the end result was what I hoped for.







For the walls I had some small tiles that was suitable, so they were glued in placed. Sanding of the bases was done quickly and left to dry for a few hours.








Everything was then spray primed with a dark brown colour.






3 layers of drybrushing from light brown/beige to unbleached titanium white to off white gave the look I wanted.




The bases where repainted dark brown where the paint from the buildings had touched. 3 layers of drybrushing was then applied before adding some light green flock in different places around the models.

The tiles on the walls was painted in antique red and then drybrushed with a red-orange before a final highlight of light rosa. The same was done with the Wills plain tiles sheets.


Finally I added some barrels, benches, crates etc. as the final touches.







In all this has cost me around £40 since much of it is scratchbuilt from pieces I had lying about.

I am very pleased with the final look and look forward to gaming with the buildings.